The Dread Voyage Poems

by William Wilfred Campbell




I STAND upon the morning’s rim,
      And all life’s dream within me thrills;
I am the cup whose beaded brim
      The wine of living holds or spills:
I stand upon the morning’s rim,
When day grows rose and night is dim.

There comes a freshness from the floor
      Of ocean and the night-bathed land;
A spirit swings each roseate door
      With winnowing wings and odours bland:

Rose flames enkindle heaven’s floor,
And the grey mists are night no more.

I stand upon the morning’s verge,
      And feel the glorious waking world;
Afar I hear life’s thundering surge

      On morning’s beaches maddening hurled,
In flame-tinged beauty, where the verge
Of ocean sings melodious dirge.

I stand at morning’s rim and know
      That all this dream of earth and sea,

These clouds and dreamy fields below,
      This azure sphere, were made for me:
That all are mine that morn doth know,
The airs that brood, the blades that grow.

I walk in fields knee-deep in grass,

      Where heavenward elms spread their arms;
I dream the airs of morning pass,
      With voices from a hundred farms:
The bobolink rises from the grass,
Brim with the melody morning has.

I wander by the shade of woods,
      In roadways brown and wet with dew—
The great cool, leafy solitudes;
      My heart grows great and lonely too,
With the large wisdom of the woods,
Full of the morning’s haunted moods.

The world grows faint and far away,
      As morning grows a dream at noon;
Here the great silences do pray,
      With spread arms in a voiceless swoon:

The fields gleam out and far away
Across the hum and hush of day.

I breathe life’s airs and feel my heart
      Leap into being, like a brook
That from a mountain crag doth start,

      And falls in snowy thunders shook:
So all earth’s glories in my heart
Surge outward, nature’s counterpart.

The over-moving fields of blue,
      They are the dreams that God hath spread,

With dews and fires of morning too,
      Far out around above my head:
I feel their deep, far-lifting blue,
Shot with the morning’s radiance through.

Here in the brooding earth I dream

      The great, high visions of the soul;
Strong like the swerved tide of the stream,
      Broad like the morn’s unbroken whole:
Majestic hopes of life I dream,
Such visions great a god might deem.

So clear the river’s eye is clear,
      So strong and fresh the smell of earth,
So gladly heaven hovers near,
      Great thoughts could scarcely fail of birth:
The very soul grows crystal clear,
Like some pure, spring-fed mountain mere.

Out here across this wind-blown land,
      Where all is great and glad and new,
I feel my spirit’s wings expand
      Like eagle’s under heaven’s blue:

Great with the strength of sea and land,
I grasp life’s problems in my hand.

Back downward to the world I go,
      Filled with the glory of earth’s light;
No demon dread can overthrow,

      No dreams of evil e’er affright:
To battle with my fate I go,
Across the days of strife and woe.

No frosts of wintry age can chill,
      No deeps of midnight swirl me down;

The fires of Spring my being thrill,
      The dreams of morning fence me round:
By blue, blue brooks that never chill,
I climb for aye a summer hill.

I climb and listen to a song,

      Sung by a bird at Summer’s dawn,
A song that holds no note of wrong,
      Dreamed from the world where love hath gone:
I listen, listen till that song,
Like God’s voice, makes the years more strong.